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Wind power in Denmark

Denmark was a pioneer in developing commercial wind power during the 1970s, and today a substantial share of the wind turbines around the world are produced by Danish manufacturers such as Vestas and Siemens Wind Power along with many component suppliers. Wind power produced the equivalent of 33% of Denmark's total electricity consumption in 2013 and 39% in 2014.[1][2][3] In 2012 the Danish government adopted a plan to increase the share of electricity production from wind to 50% by 2020,[4] and to 84% in 2035.[5]


As concerns over global warming grew in the 1980s, Denmark found itself with relatively high carbon dioxide emissions per capita, primarily due to the coal-fired electrical power plants that had become the norm after the 1973 and 1979 energy crises.[6] Renewable energy became the natural choice for Denmark, decreasing both dependence on other countries for energy and global warming pollution. Denmark adopted a target of cutting carbon emissions by 22% from 1988 levels by 2005.[6] On 29 March 1985, one year before the Chernobyl disaster, the Danes passed a law forbidding the construction of nuclear power plants. In the process the Danish grassroots movement had a substantial role. The Danish Anti-nuclear Movement's (OOA) smiling-sun logo "Atomkraft, Nej Tak" ("Nuclear Power, No Thanks") spread world wide, and the renewable alternatives were promoted by the Danish Organisation for Renewable Energy (OVE).

Planning of wind power was deliberately streamlined by authorities in order to minimize hurdles.[7]

Many countries tried to subsidize green technology such as wind power, and most failed to make a viable industry. The Danish system was an exception, providing 30% of initial capital cost in the early years which was gradually reduced to zero, but still maintaining a feed-in tariff.[8]

Wind resources

External images
16px Wind map of Denmark Archive
16px Today's wind power production
16px Tomorrow's wind power prognosis, by Nord Pool Spot.
16px Current power system data, provided by
16px Current power system data, provided by EMD

Denmark has relatively modest average wind speeds in the range of 4.9–5.6 m/s measured at 10 m height. Onshore wind resources are highest in the western part of the country, and on the eastern islands with coastlines facing south or west. The country has very large offshore wind resources, and large areas of sea territory with a shallow water depth of 5–15 m, where siting is most feasible. These sites offer higher wind speeds, in the range of roughly 8.5–9.0 m/s at 50 m height.[9] There have been no major problems from wind variability, although there is a temporary problem resulting from the connection of a large bloc of wind power from offshore wind farms to a single point on a weak section of the transmission network.[10] The wind resource over Denmark was mapped in 1999 by EMD International A/S and Risø National Laboratory. The mapping was made using a 200 m grid resolution using the models in WindPRO and WAsP. The results were validated on more than 1200 wind turbines nationwide.[11]

Denmark is connected by transmission line to other European countries (e.g. Cross-Skagerrak)[12] and has traditional power plants, therefore it does not need to install additional peak-load plants to balance its wind power. Instead, it purchases additional power from its neighbours when necessary. With some strengthening of the grid, Denmark plans to increase wind's share even further[13] to 50% of consumption in 2020,[14] and up to 84% in 2035.[5]

Danish district heating plants use 100 Petajoule/year,[15] and part of this consumption is from electrode boilers[16] or heat pumps.[17][18] Expansion of wind powered district heating is calculated to be economically efficient without taxes.[19][20]

Analysts expect the cost of wind power to be 30 øre/kWh and its handling cost to be 15 øre/kWh, being lower than coal and natural gas at 55 øre/kWh minimum.[21] Due to their inability to follow load wind power gets a lower price.[22]

Capacities and production

External images
16px Grid stability and wind share

At the end of 2014, Denmark's capacity stands at 4,792 MW,[23]

In 2005, Denmark had installed wind capacity of 3,127 MW, which produced 23,810 TJ (6.6 TW·h) of energy, giving an actual average production of 755 MW at a capacity factor of 24%.[24] In 2009, Denmark's capacity grew to 3,482 MW; most of the increase came from the 209 MW Horns Rev 2 offshore wind farm, which was inaugurated on September 17, 2009 by Crown Prince Frederik.[25] In 2010, capacity grew to 3,752 MW, and most of the year's increase came from the Rødsand-2 off-shore wind farm. In 2014, the largest increase came from the 400 MW Anholt wind farm.[1]

Denmark has the highest proportion of wind power in the world, with production in 2014 being 39% of total power consumption. For the month of January 2014, that share was over 61%. The month of lowest wind power share was July at 23%,[1] however Denmark also has 548 MW of solar power.[26] For 21 December 2013, the wind share was 102%, and for 1 hour the share was 135%.[3]

Wind power output reduces spot market prices in general via the merit order effect; in 2008 this caused a net reduction of pre-tax electricity prices (balancing the increase from the feed-in law).[27]

Installed wind capacity, production, share in Denmark by year
Year 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
Installed wind capacity (kW)[23] 52 813 1,090
Electricity generated (MW·h)[23] 120 240
Year 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
Installed wind capacity (MW)[23] 2.7 6.3 10.6 14.3 19.8 47.0 72.4 111.9 190.3 246.7
Electricity generated (GW·h)[23] 2 5 12 19 26 44 104 154 266 398
Year 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
Installed wind capacity (MW)[23] 326 393 436 468 521 600 814 1,123 1,438 1,753
Electricity generated (TW·h)[23] 0.57 0.68 0.83 0.92 1.06 1.09 1.19 1.89 2.76 3.00
Year 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Installed wind capacity (MW)[23] 2,390 2,497 2,890 3,116 3,123 3,127 3,135 3,124 3,163 3,482
Electricity generated (TW·h)[23] 4.22 4.31 4.86 5.56 6.58 6.61 6.11 7.14 6.98 6.72
Wind power share in the electricity supply (%)[28] 12.1 12.2 13.9 15.8 18.5 18.5 16.8 19.7 19.1 19.3
Year 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Installed wind capacity (MW)[3][23] 3,752 3,927 4,162 4,792 4,855
Electricity generated (TW·h)[3][23] 7.81 9.77 10.27 11.12 13.08
Wind power share in domestic electricity supply (%)[3][28] 20.2 28.0 33.7 32.2 40.9
Wind power share in domestic electricity usage (%)[1][3][28] 21.9 28.2 29.9 32.7 38.6

Future parks in Denmark

On 22 March 2012 a coalition of parties representing 95% of all members of the Danish parliament agreed that the Danish state would increase the country's offshore wind capacity by 1,500 MW.[29][30] The 1,500 MW extra capacity will be achieved by constructing the future offshore wind farms Horns Rev 3 with a capacity of 400 MW in the North Sea[30] and Kriegers Flak with a capacity of 600 MW in the Baltic Sea close to the borders of Germany and Sweden.[30] In addition 6 nearshore wind farms with a total capacity of up to 450 MW will be constructed along with 50 MW of experimental offshore wind farms.[30] The first 350 MW were called for tenders in 2015, with a maximum price of 70 øre/kWh.[31][32] Horns Rev 3 is set to be operational in 2017[33] while Kriegers Flak and all the nearshore wind farms are set to be fully operational no later than 2020 [30][34]

In addition to the offshore projects a further 500 MW additional net capacity of onshore windfarms is expected be constructed until 2020. The 500 MW of additional net capacity is the expected result of the scrapping of 1,300 MW capacity from obsolete wind turbines combined with the simultaneous building of 1,800 MW capacity of modern wind turbines - a process also know as repowering.[35]

Electricity exports from Denmark

Annual wind power production is currently (2014) equal to about 39% of electricity consumed in Denmark.[1] The proportion of this that is actually consumed in Denmark has been disputed, as the Norwegian hydro power is used as grid storage. Claims of up to 40% of wind power being exported have been made,[36][37] countered by claims that only 1% was exported.[38] According to the first argument, power in excess of immediate demand is exported to Germany, Norway, and Sweden. The latter two have considerable hydropower resources, which can rapidly reduce their generation whenever wind farms are generating surplus power, saving water for later, and can export electricity to Denmark when wind power output drops. Part of the benefit of this goes to Denmark's neighbours: when Denmark's wind farms are exporting power, it is sold at the spot market price, which sometimes falls to near or below zero.[39] According to the second argument, the correlation between exports and wind power is weak, and a similar correlation exists with conventional thermal plants; meanwhile, causal analysis shows that export from Denmark typically occurs as a consequence of the merit order effect, when large thermal plants have reserve capacities at times the spot market price of electricity is high. In any case, the export price is the intermediate between the prices of the two areas, so the exporting TSO (Energinet) uses the profit to relieve tariffs.[40] This service of timeshifting production and consumption is also found around the world in pumped-storage hydroelectricity balancing coal and nuclear plants. Wind power organizations state that Denmark exports power at a higher price than it imports at.[41]

Economic conditions

Wind turbine industry

File:Vestas Turbine.JPG
A Vestas wind turbine

The Danish wind turbine industry is the world's largest. Around 90% of the national output is exported, and Danish companies accounted for 38% of the world turbine market in 2003, when the industry employed some 20,000 people and had a turnover of around 3 billion euro.[42]

The biggest wind turbine manufacturers with production facilities in Denmark are Vestas and Siemens Wind Power.

The development of wind power in Denmark has been characterized by a close collaboration between publicly financed research and industry in key areas such as research and development, certification, testing, and the preparation of standards.[43] For example, in the 1980s, a large number of small Danish companies were developing wind turbines to sell to California, and the Danish Risø laboratory provided test facilities and certification procedures. These resulted in reliable products and the rapid expansion of the Danish turbine manufacturing industry.[44]

Criticism of Danish wind economics

In 2009, the Institute for Energy Research commissioned the Danish think-tank CEPOS (Centre for Political Studies) to report on electricity exports from Denmark and the economic impact of the Danish wind industry. This heavily criticized report[45] states that Danes pay the highest residential electricity rates in the European Union (mostly for government revenue, but partly to subsidize wind power), and that the cost of saving a ton of carbon dioxide between 2001 and 2008 has averaged 647 DKK (€87, US$124). It also estimated that 90% of wind industry jobs were transferred from other technology industries, and states that as a result Danish GDP is 1.8 billion DKK (US$270 million) lower than it would have been without wind industry subsidies of 1.7-2.6 billion DKK (roughly $320M - $480M) yearly in 2001-2005. The report was later heavily criticised. Firstly Danish engineering magazine Ingeniøren claimed that the report was ordered and paid for by the American oil and coal lobby through IER.[46] Later, several Danish researchers and professors from all technical universities in Denmark, wrote a joint response to the report, refuting it.[47] The report from CEPOS was even brought to Government level, where minister of Climate and Energy Lykke Friis discredited the work done by CEPOS and the report.[48] Actual consumer-paid incentives for wind turbines depend on year of commission, but is generally around 25 øre/kWh for a limited amount of hours, although support is discounted if combined price exceeds 58 øre/kWh.[49]

Wind turbine cooperatives

To encourage investment in wind power, families were offered a tax exemption for generating their own electricity within their own or an adjoining municipality.[50] While this could involve purchasing a turbine outright, more often families purchased shares in wind turbine cooperatives which in turn invested in community wind turbines. By 1996 there were around 2,100 such cooperatives in the country.[50] Opinion polls show that this direct involvement has helped the popularity of wind turbines, with some 86% of Danes supporting wind energy when compared with existing fuel sources.[42]

The role of wind turbine cooperatives is not limited to single turbines. The Middelgrunden offshore wind farm – with 20 turbines the world's largest offshore farm at the time it was built in 2000 – is 50% owned by the 10,000 investors in the Middelgrunden Wind Turbine Cooperative, and 50% by the municipal utility company,[51] as is the Avedøre near-shore turbines.

By 2001 over 100,000 families belonged to wind turbine cooperatives, which had installed 86% of all the wind turbines in Denmark.[52] By 2004 over 150,000 were either members or owned turbines, and about 5,500 turbines had been installed, although with greater private sector involvement the proportion owned by cooperatives had fallen to 75%.[42] The cooperative model has also spread to Germany and the Netherlands.

Samsø Island

The island of Samsø erected 11 one-megawatt, land-based wind turbines in 2000, followed by ten offshore 2.3 MW wind turbines completed in 2003. Together with other renewable energy measures, this community of 4,200 achieved fame,[53] claiming that it is the largest carbon-neutral settlement on the planet.[54][not in citation given] This claim exploits the general discourse, that one can neglect carbon-dioxide and other pollution from fossil fuel consumption (cars, imported electricity, heating for houses...), if the yearly average electricity production from sustained sources is higher than the total energy consumed.[citation needed]

See also

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  1. ^ a b c d e Rasmussen, Jesper Nørskov. "Vindmøller slog rekord i 2014 " (in Danish), 6 January 2015. Accessed: 6 January 2015.
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c d e f Carsten Vittrup. "2013 was a record-setting year for Danish wind power" (in Danish), 15 January 2014. Accessed: 20 January 2014.
  4. ^ The Guardian: "Denmark aims to get 50% of all electricity from wind power", 26 March 2012
  5. ^ a b Lindboe, page 3
  6. ^ a b Soren Krohn (2002-02-22). "Wind Energy Policy in Denmark: Status 2002" (PDF). Danish Wind Industry Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-09-08. 
  7. ^ Streamline Renewable Energy Policy and make Australia a World Leader Energy Matters, 11 August 2010. Retrieved: 6 November 2010.
  8. ^ Sørensen, Bent. Renewable energy: its physics, engineering, use, environmental impacts, economy, and planning aspects page 762. Academic Press, 2004. ISBN 0-12-656153-2, ISBN 978-0-12-656153-1 Retrieved: 6 November 2010.
  9. ^ Case Study: Wind energy in Denmark. Retrieved on 2011-06-11.
  10. ^ Diesendorf, Mark (2007). Greenhouse Solutions with Sustainable Energy, UNSW Press, p. 121.
  11. ^ Danish Wind Ressource Map (1999). Available online at Retrieved on 2011-06-11.
  12. ^ Gellert, Bjarne Christian. Electricity interconnections, 22 August 2011. Retrieved: 6 December 2011.
  13. ^ Diesendorf, Mark (2007). Greenhouse solutions with sustainable energy, UNSW Press, pp. 121–22.
  14. ^ Lund 2010, p. 21 "Denmark has a strategy to raise this share to 50 percent and the necessary measures are in the process of being implemented".
  15. ^ Lindboe, page 29
  16. ^ Wittrup, Sanne. "Dong: Vores kraftværker bruger allerede billig vindmøllestrøm i elpatroner" Ingeniøren, 15 January 2015. Retrieved: January 2015.
  17. ^ Blarke, Morten Boje. "Liste over el-drevne varmepumper i fjernvarmen", 12 February 2014. Retrieved: January 2015.
  18. ^ Capion, Karsten. "Analyse nr. 9 - Mulighederne for den fremtidige fjernvarmeproduktion i decentrale områder" Danish Energy, 15 January 2014. Retrieved: 15 January 2015.
  19. ^ Lindboe, page 7
  20. ^ Blarke, Morten Boje. "Store eldrevne varmepumper" Aalborg University, 17 April 2013. Retrieved: January 2015.
  21. ^ Lindboe, page 6
  22. ^ Lindboe, page 14
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Spliid, Iben. Stamdataregister for vindmøller HTML-spreadsheet, column E Danish Energy Agency November 2014. Accessed: 6 January 2014.
  24. ^ "Danish Annual Energy Statistics 2008" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-07-31. 
  25. ^ Matthew McDermott. "Denmark Inaugurates World's Largest Offshore Wind Farm – 209 MW" Treehugger.
  26. ^ "Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics 2014-2018". EPIA - European Photovoltaic Industry Association. p. 34. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 June 2014. Retrieved 12 June 2014. 
  27. ^ Lund 2010, p. 6 "The cost of wind power is paid solely by the electricity consumers and the net influence on consumer prices was as low as 1–3 percent on average in the period 2004–2008. In 2008, the net influence even decreased the average consumer price, although only slightly."
  28. ^ a b c Månedlig elforsyningsstatistik, HTML-spreadsheet summary tab B58-B72 Danish Energy Agency 18 January 2012. Accessed: 11 March 2012.
  29. ^ "Så er energiforliget på plads" (in Danish). Ingeniøren. 2012-03-22. Retrieved 2014-04-17. 
  30. ^ a b c d e Therese Kofoed Jensen, Adviser, Danish Energy Agency (2014-03-14). "Offshore investments in Denmark" (PDF). Danish Energy Agency. Retrieved 2014-04-17. 
  31. ^ Wittrup, Sanne. "Discount-udbud af 350 MW havmøller skudt i gang " Ingeniøren, 20 February 2015. Accessed: 22 February 2015.
  32. ^ New nearshore wind tenders
  33. ^ "Horns Rev 3 havmøller" (in Danish). Energinet.DK. 2014-04-07. Retrieved 2014-04-17. 
  34. ^ "Kriegers Flak havmøller" (in Danish). Energinet.DK. 2013-11-26. Retrieved 2014-04-17. 
  35. ^ "Markant udbygning af vindenergi" (PDF) (in Danish). Klima-, Energi- og Bygningsministeriet. 2012-03-27. Retrieved 2014-04-20. 
  36. ^ "Analysis of Wind Power in the Danish Electricity Supply in 2005 and 2006" (PDF). Techconsult. 2007-10-08. Retrieved 2009-04-04. It is often said that wind power covers ca. 20% of Danish electricity consumption. It is more correct to say that the production of power by Danish wind turbines corresponds to about 20% of electricity demand. But a considerable part of the wind energy produced is exported to neighbouring countries and thus does not cover any part of Danish electricity consumption. (...) For the whole country the degree of cover in 2005 was 13.6% (not 18.7% as stated by the Wind Turbine Industry), and in 2006 it was 10.3%, not 17%.  Translation of "Analyse af Vindkraft i Dansk Elforsyning 2005 og 2006", Summary.
  37. ^ Sharman, Hugh (May 2005). "Why Wind Power Works in Denmark" (PDF). Proceedings of ICE, Civil Engineering (Thomas Telford, Ltd.): 66–72. Retrieved 2009-04-04. 
  38. ^ Lund 2010, pp. 20–21 "the wind export in 2008 was only 61 GWh, equal to approx. 1 percent of the wind power production"
  39. ^ "Nord Pool Spot implements negative price floor in Elspot from October 2009" (Press release). Nord Pool Spot. 4 February 2009. Retrieved 2010-04-14. 
  40. ^ TSO Congestion rent Nord Pool Spot. Retrieved: 24 September 2010.
  41. ^ "Denmark sells power at a higher price than we buy" VidenOmVind, 25 May 2012. Accessed: 5 September 2013.
  42. ^ a b c The world's leader in Wind Power,, published 2004, accessed 2007-06-22.
  43. ^ "Wind energy: A visionary match". Risø National Laboratory. Retrieved 2010-07-31. 
  44. ^ Boyle, 2004, p. 414.
  45. ^ Sharman, Hugh; Meyer, Henrik. "Wind Energy: The Case of Denmark" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-08-17. 
  46. ^ Andersen, Kasper Brøndgaard. "Omstridt CEPOS-rapport var betalt af kul- og olielobby Disputed CEPOS report was paid for by coal and oil lobby Ingeniøren, 18 March 2010. Retrieved: January 2015.
  47. ^
  48. ^ Andersen, Kasper Brøndgaard. "Lykke Friis: CEPOS-rapport giver »fortegnet« billede af vindkraft Ingeniøren, 19 March 2010. Retrieved: January 2015.
  49. ^ "Fremskrivning af PSO-udgifter" page 6. Danish Energy Agency, 19 May 2014. Retrieved: 17 January 2015.
  50. ^ a b Paul Gipe (1996). "Community-Owned Wind Development in Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands". Wind Works. Retrieved 2007-06-21. 
  51. ^ Hans Christian Sørensen, Lars Kjeld Hansen, Jens H. Mølgaard Larsen (2002). "Middelgrunden 40 MW offshore wind farm Denmark: Lessons Learned" (PDF). SPOK Consult. Retrieved 2007-06-21. 
  52. ^ Jens H. Larsen, Copenhagen Environment and Energy Office (2001). "The world's largest off-shore windfarm, Middelgrunden 40 MW". Middelgrunden Wind Turbine Co-operative. Archived from the original on 2007-08-17. Retrieved 2007-06-21. 
  53. ^ Kolbert, Elizabeth. (2009-01-07) A Reporter at Large: The Island in the Wind. The New Yorker. Retrieved on 2011-06-11.
  54. ^ No free ride for athletes, Athens News, 29 August 2008



  • Boyle, Godfrey (2004). Renewable energy: Power for a sustainable future, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-926178-4
  • Caldicott, Helen (2006). Nuclear power is not the answer to global warming or anything else, Melbourne University Press, ISBN 0-522-85251-3

External links